‘Housing Our Heroes’ provides shelter for San Diego veterans

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — San Diego is on its way to fulfilling its commitment to provide 1,000 homeless veterans with housing.

The "Housing Our Heroes" program was announced last March and already 450 veterans are in secure homes, some of them with families.

This is part of the city’s "Housing First" program, which began three years ago to break the cycle of homelessness, in this case, among veterans.

An apartment on Howard Ave. in North Park houses three veterans, including Paul.

He’s a Vietnam vet who had a business that failed during the recession and he became homeless. He heard about the program at the VA hospital.

"They wouldn’t let me out because I had no place to go, so I went and applied for the program and I was surprised how fast it worked," Paul said.

Paul is grateful to be off the streets, thanks to David Antczak, his landlord. David’s family includes veterans.

"We understand what its like and the sacrifices they have made,’ David said. "I’d line to say thank you to the housing our heroes program for giving me and my wife an opportunity to say thank you to them."

The landlords are critical to making this program work. They are offered incentives to participate including cash payments, a security deposit, utility bill assistance and a fund for certain expenses such as repairs.

The Housing Our Heroes program is funded by the city, federal dollars and the Housing Commission.

"To date, the ‘Housing and Heroes’ program has provided more than $530,000 to landlords who are receiving incentive payments in addition to their ordinary rent supplements," said Rick Gentry of the Housing Commission.

This is a $12 million program and much of the funding is for the incentives to the landlords. While 450 veterans have already found housing, another 254 have vouchers and are searching.

"Sometimes it takes a little bit longer to find a unit for every individual but I’m proud to announce that we have identified more than 700 homeless veterans who have either secured housing or in the process of securing housing," said Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

While the program has reached a milestone, the mayor put out a call to other landlords.

"While many landlords have stepped up to take in homeless veterans today we’re asking for even more of our landlords top open their doors," Mayor Faulconer said.

The program began last March with the goal of getting 1,000 homeless veterans into secure housing by next March and that seems doable.  

Categories: Local San Diego News